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21:40 3rd March 2015

Late leveller earns Royals point!

  • Federici saves from Le Fondre and Janko
  • Mackie comes close three times
  • Gudjohnsen breaks deadlock on the hour
  • Pearce effort cleared off the line by Bannan
  • Mackie fires dramatic leveller in injury time
Jamie Mackie struck an injury time equaliser to earn the Royals a share of the spoils at Bolton this evening, taking Steve Clarke's men ten points clear of the relegation zone in the process.

Reading bossed large spells of the game but it was Bolton who thought they were going to take all three points away from a feisty Macron Stadium encounter thanks to Eidur Gudjohnsen's second half opener.

Mackie had come closest to scoring for the visitors in a good first half display, but Adam Federici had to save well from former Royal Adam Le Fondre to keep the game goalless at the break.

What seemed to be the telling blow came on the hour when Le Fondre cut the ball back for substitute Gudjohnsen to stroke home and when Alex Pearce's stabbed effort was cleared off the line by Barry Bannan it looked like the hosts would walk away with the win.

Reading never gave in however and came away with a hard-earned draw thanks to Mackie's low drive inside the bottom right corner in injury time.

Bolton: Amos, McNaughton (Vela 13), Wheater (Dervite 25), Mills (c), Ream, Danns, Bannan, Feeney, Janko, Clough (Gudjohnsen 42), Le Fondre.
Substitutes: Fitzsimons, Moxey, Eaves, Walker
Yellow: Dervite

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Obita, Pearce (c), Hector, Chalobah (Williams 77), Norwood, Robson-Kanu (Cox 68), McCleary (Blackman 68), Mackie, Pogrebnyak.
Substitutes: Andersen, Kelly, Cooper, Yakubu.

Yellow: Norwood, Pogrebnyak

Att: 12,795 (2009 away)

First Half

Reading came out of the traps at a pace in the cold of Bolton, Chris Gunter crossing dangerously towards Mackie in the opening minutes before Garath McCleary was bundled over by Feeney to win a free kick out on the right. Norwood's delivery was too deep for everyone though.

But Bolton found their feet and David Wheater spurned a half chance in front of goal from a corner before Barry Bannan saw a shot from distance charged down. Then a low cross from the right pinballed to the feet of Feeney who forced Federici into a smart save with a first time strike.

Kevin McNaughton was stretched off after falling nastily near the corner flag, but moments after the substitution Mackie and Pogrebnyak combined to almost find a route to goal. In the end, Mackie's hurried shot was charged down.

Mackie then got the chance to shoot from inside the area, working a yard of space nicely to beat Wheater and then drilling a low shot at goal only to see Ben Amos save well low to his left.

Moments later, Gunter received the ball on the overlap and bursting into the box his low pull back couldn't be flicked on target by Mackie. And Reading came even closer soon after when McCleary pulled the trigger from the edge of the area only for it to take a deflection and skid inches wide of the bottom right corner.

Reading looked dangerous every time they came forward and another McCleary shot was deflected over the crossbar after the winger had used Gunter's overlapping run as a decoy. Then a minute later, Gunter scuttled across the edge of the Bolton area to feed Obita on the left and his low cross was just cut out before it could cause panic in the six yard box.

With eight minutes of the half remaining, McCleary threaded a ball into the feet of Mackie who turned Mills inside out but then from a narrow angle arrowed over the crossbar.

Before the half could come to an end though, Federici had to deny Le Fondre from point blank range. Mills won a header from a corner and the ball was stabbed clear to the feet of Alfie who drilled it goalwards from 10 yards out only for the Aussie to parry brilliantly.

Zach Clough picked up what looked like an arm injury five minutes before the break and Neil Lennon was forced to use his third and final substitute before the break, bringing Eidur Gudjohnsen on. And Barry Bannan whistled a long range drive just wide before referee Mark Haywood could bring a close to a fiery first 45 after four minutes of injury time.

Second half

The first opportunity of the second half was earned by Jamie Mackie. Scuttling past one man he angled a low shot across the body of Amos but just wide of the bottom left corner.

Five minutes later Pogrebnyak won a free kick which Norwood swept into the box from the right. Pearce won the header but could only loop it over the bar.

Reading were creating most of the pressure but again Bolton almost struck against the run of play with a good chance. Feeney's cross found its way to the feet of Janko on the edge of the six yard box and Federici did well to claw the ball away low to his right.

Mills then directed a volley over from Bannan's drilled corner and Federici was off his line quickly to dive at the feet of Janko as he broke into the box.

And Bolton capitalised on their spell of pressure with the opening goal. Le Fondre scampered in behind Pearce down the right and pulled the ball back for Gudjohnsen to stroke home.

Pearce almost drew the visitors level at the other end when an inswinging Norwood corner fell to the centre back's feet and he stabbed the ball through a crowd only for Bannan to clear it off his goalline.

Less than ten minutes remained and Alex Pearce ran onto a one-two with Pogrebnyak only to fire high over the bar with his left foot and time was beginning to run out on the Royals.

But in injury time, Jamie Mackie struck a dramatic equaliser. A pass forward deflected all the way through to Mackie 20 yards out and he touched the ball onto his left boot and rifled low past Amos and inside the bottom right corner to make it 1-1.

Reading players celebrated with the goalscorer and a jubilant bench and the final whistle sounded soon after, meaning Reading go into this weekend's quarter-final with a league point that moves Steve Clarke's side ten points clear of the bottom three.